Scared of thunderstorms....
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Thread: Scared of thunderstorms....

  1. #1
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    DefaultScared of thunderstorms....

    Our dog Piper is 3 and a half years old and is terrified of thunderstorms.* I know this is normal, but we had a large storm last week which really scared her, since this time she has been scared to go out on walks and has begun to be frightened of walking in just rain or wind as I think she now associates this with a thunderstorm.

    She has always been frightened by thunder and fireworks.* In the house she just runs to the safety of her 'den' and we leave her there.* We normally try to time her walks to avoid the rain and any upcoming storms, but if we are out and she hears the low rumblings of thunder before the start of a storm (or even sometimes a low flying air place or freight train) she refuses to walk in any direction but home.* She either sits and won't budge an inch or shows her displeasure by pawing at the leash.

    Since this recent storm she has been acting like this during just rain and even for the first few walks after the storm even if it is a nice day.* How should we treat this?* I feel bad for her being scared but also frustrated because during the non-thunder times when there is no real threat to her.* We waffle between dragging her until she starts moving again (this morning I brought treats and rewarded her for heeling with me - very similar to how we taught her to walk on a leash so many years ago) and letting her return home.

    This morning I had to drag her as I could no longer wait for the rain to let up and she had to out before we left for work.* Normally we walk for about 10 minutes until she finds a suitable spot to pee, this morning she took 1 minute and peed on someone's lawn and then turned and ran right home- that really reinforces to me how frightened she is of this perceived threat.

    It breaks my heart to see her scared for no real reason but I also don't like giving into her stubborness and letting her take charge of the walk.

    Does anyone have a similar situation or suggestions?

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    No advice, but hope someone else can help.. Good Luck..

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    My last lab Tucson was terrified of thunder storms. The strange thing was that if she was outside taking a walk she didn't mind the thunder. I didn't make a big deal of it. She did not want to be comforted so I just left her alone when it stormed. She never got over it but it never got worse than her just shaking and hiding.

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  6. #4
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    Casey is terrified of thunderstorms too.* And he can sense that one is coming long before it hits.* He absolutely will not go outside if it is storming or the wind is blowing hard.* Sometimes he hides in the bathtub until it passes over.* Otherwise he is a normal lab.*

  7. #5
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    You would need to do systematic desensitization and counterconditioning, so he gradually learns to stop associating thunder with bad things. If you have a really good stereo, I know that there are tapes of thunderstorms, gunshots, etc., that you can use for this purpose.

    Here's a link on DS/CC: http://www.kuvasz.info/kuvaszfear.htm

    Here's the link to one desensitization protocol: http://www.starfire-rapport.com/noiseshy.htm I can't vouch for the effectiveness of this, although one of our trainers said that he used it to good effect.

  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    Maggie is terrified of thunderstorms. Before they even start, she is shaking and hiding. I bought her a Storm Defender cape, and it seems to be helping, moreso over time. It sounds a bit silly, but it does seem to work for her. She even slept through the last storm we had. Here's the link:

    http://www.stormdefender.com

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    Maggie is terrified of thunderstorms. Before they even start, she is shaking and hiding. I bought her a Storm Defender cape, and it seems to be helping, moreso over time. It sounds a bit silly, but it does seem to work for her. She even slept through the last storm we had. Here's the link:

    http://www.stormdefender.com

  10. #8
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    It's not silly at all--it sounds like an anxiety wrap, which works really really well for many cats and lots of dogs, too. T-Touch (a kind of calming massage for dogs, developed by a horse trainer) can also be helpful; although I learned how to do it, I haven't had much use for it with Theo.

    Still, I think desensitizing them to the sensation is the best long-term strategy. Although I've read that they are most sensitive to the changes in air pressure, and I'm not sure if you can desensitize to that...

  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    Quote Originally Posted by theoconbrio
    It's not silly at all--it sounds like an anxiety wrap, which works really really well for many cats and lots of dogs, too. T-Touch (a kind of calming massage for dogs, developed by a horse trainer) can also be helpful; although I learned how to do it, I haven't had much use for it with Theo.

    Still, I think desensitizing them to the sensation is the best long-term strategy. Although I've read that they are most sensitive to the changes in air pressure, and I'm not sure if you can desensitize to that...
    Yes, that's how Maggie knows they are coming, much earlier than I can see any signs.

  12. #10
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    Pam is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Scared of thunderstorms....

    I had a German Shepherd who was terrified of thunderstorms. He's actually try to squeeze himself under the refrigerator. If he was out in the yard and knew one was on the way, he'd frantically claw at the glass sliding door to get inside. We had to replace the glass twice.
    The vet gave us valium so everytime there was a storm, he had to take one.

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